Genesis 20

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English: Darby Version

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1 And Abraham departed thence towards the south country, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned at Gerar.

2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. And Abimelech the king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art [but] a dead man, because of the woman that thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

4 But Abimelech had not come near her. And he said, Lord, wilt thou also kill a righteous nation?

5 Did he not say to me, She is my sister? and she, even she said, He is my brother. In the integrity of my heart and in the innocency of my hands have I done this.

6 And God said to him in a dream, I also knew that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart, and I, too, have withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore have I not suffered thee to touch her.

7 And now, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and will pray for thee, that thou mayest live. And if thou do not restore [her], know that thou shalt certainly die, thou and all that is thine.

8 And Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and spoke all these words in their ears; and the men were greatly afraid.

9 And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, What hast thou done to us? And in what have I sinned against thee, that thou hast brought on me, and on my kingdom, a great sin? Thou hast done to me deeds that ought not to be done.

10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, What hast thou seen that thou hast done this?

11 And Abraham said, Because I said, Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will kill me for my wife's sake.

12 But she is also truly my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

13 And it came to pass when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, Let this be thy kindness which thou shalt shew to me: at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

14 And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and bondmen and bondwomen, and gave [them] to Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.

15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it is good in thine eyes.

16 And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand [pieces] of silver; behold, let that be to thee a covering of the eyes, in respect of all that are with thee, and with all; and she was reproved.

17 And Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and his wife and his handmaids, and they bore [children].

18 For Jehovah had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

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Word/Phrase Explanations

abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

South
'South' denotes truth in light.

country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

Kadesh
'Kadesh' denotes truths, and contention about truths.

Shur
'Shur,' or 'Assyria,' signifies the Lord's state when He first received instruction in matters of doctrine regarding charity and faith.

sojourned
There is a long history of using travel to round out an education, from the 19th-century “world tours” taken by Oxford and Cambridge graduates to...

Gerar
Gerar, as in Genesis 10:19, signifies those things which are revealed concerning faith.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Sarah
'Sarah' denotes truth joined to good. Sarai was called 'Sarah' so she would represent the divine intellectual principle by adding the 'H' from the name...

Sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. The Lord calls people who...

Abimelech
Abimelech, his companion Ahusath, and Phicol, the chief captain of his army (Gen 26:26), represent the doctrinals of faith as grounded in the literal sense...

king
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Dream
A dream, as in Genesis 20:3,signifies being somewhat obscure.

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

dead
Death in the Bible represents spiritual death, or the destruction of everything that is good and all true beliefs in someone. This happens when people...

man
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

woman
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

kill
The Lord is love itself, and that love is the ultimate source of all energy and thus of all life. It follows, then, that the...

righteous
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

Nation
'A nation,' as in Genesis 21:18, signifies the spiritual church which should receive the good of faith. Nation from afar,' as in Jeremiah 5:17, signifies...

brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

Integrity
'Integrity,' as in Genesis 20:5, signifies innocence and simplicity.

heart
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

knew
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

touch
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

restore
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

prophet
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

pray
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

die
'To perish,' or 'die,' relates to damnation, or the state in hell.

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

early
Since the sun represents the Lord, the early morning and sunrise represent a state of enlightenment, with a new and clear understanding coming after a...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

servants
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

Words
'Words,' as in Exodus 34:28, signify everything pertaining to doctrine.

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

fear
Fear of the unknown and fear of change are both common ideas, and together cover a broad spectrum of the fears we tend to have...

Fear of God
Fear of God, as used in the Word, signifies worship, either grounded in fear, or in the good of faith, or in the good of...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

daughter
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

Wander
'To wander,' as in Amos 4:8, signifies inquiry. 'To wander blind in the streets,' as in Lamentations 4:14, means not knowing good and truth.

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

Shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

sheep
It’s pretty easy for most people to read the Bible and get a sense for what “sheep” means without any help. They are simple, peaceful,...

Oxen
'Oxen' or 'calves' signify the affections of the natural mind.

bondmen
Freemen and bondmen, as in Revelation 6:15, signifies those who know and understand from themselves, and those who know and understand from others.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

dwell
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

thousand
As children, most of us at some point frustrated our mothers into using the phrase “if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand...

pieces
The two sticks, in Ezekiel 37:16-22, signify the celestial and spiritual kingdom of the Lord.

silver
'Spoil of gold, and silver, and cattle' signifies falsified truths.

Covering
A covering of precious stones (Ezek. 28:4, 13) signifies the truths of intelligence.

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Jehovah
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Fast
To fast as in Mark 2:19, signifies to mourn on account of the defect of truth and good. Fasting corresponds to temptation.

closed
There are only a couple of references in the Writings to "close" used as a verb, and both stem from Amos 9:11, which talks about...


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